At a time when textile heritage is at a crossroads and most production has moved abroad, a new current of local mills are making waves by showing us how weaving is being revived just around the corner. Whether producing small runs of creative cloth or honoring age-old knowledge and artisan technical skills, industrial factories and design studios are now being transformed. There’s clearly hope at the end of the tunnel and regional production is back! Join us in New York to look at the local players that are TALKING American-made TEXTILES again!
10:30 doors open
11:00 THE RETURN OF REGIONAL PRODUCTION welcome by LIDEWIJ EDELKOORT, Trend Forecaster & Dean of Hybrid Studies, The New School
11:15 PRESERVATION 101: Documenting America’s Remaining Textile Factories by CHRISTOPHER PAYNE, Photographer, New York
11:30 WEAVING 101: Made in America 2.0 by JACOB LONG, CEO, American Woolen Company, Connecticut
12:00 speaker to be announced
12:30 FIBER 101: The Unveiling of Spider Silk by JAMIE BAINBRIDGE, Vice President of Product Development, Bolt Threads, California
1:00 touch break
2:00 SUSTAINABILITY 101: Leading Textiles Towards 2020 by INKA APTER, Facilitating Leader of Fabric Development, Eileen Fisher, New York
2:30 speaker to be announced
3:00 CARPET 101: Craftsmanship Made in the South by ROYCE EPSTEIN, Director of Design Segment, Mohawk Group
3:30 The Dorothy Waxman International Textile Design Prize - Winner Announcement by DOROTHY WAXMAN & PHILIP FIMMANO, Director, Edelkoort Inc., New York
3:45 approximate end
(program subject to minor changes)
Free admission for Students & Faculty
$150 for Creative Minds
LIDEWIJ EDELKOORT Trend Forecaster & Dean of Hybrid Studies, The New School
Li Edelkoort is arguably the world's most famous trend forecaster and colourist, working in industries from design and fashion to food, architecture, beauty, communication, automotive, and retail. Founded in 1986, her company Trend Union produces trend tools for strategists, designers and marketers at brands from Zara to Prada. She is also a publisher, humanitarian, educator and exhibition curator. In 2011, she launched an interactive online trend forum called TrendTablet.com. She has been named by TIME Magazine as one of the Most Influential People in Fashion and by Icon as one of the Most Influential People in Design. Edelkoort is the recipient of numerous accolades and since 2015 is the Dean of Hybrid Studies at Parsons The New School in New York. Her much-talked about ANTI_FASHION Manifesto was the first to raise awareness about the shifts and upheavals currently experienced in the global fashion industry.
Photographer, New York
Christopher Payne specializes in architectural photography and the large format documentation of America's industrial heritage. Trained as an architect, he is fascinated by design, assembly, and the built form. His first book, New York’s Forgotten Substations: The Power Behind the Subway (Princeton Architectural Press, 2002), offered dramatic, rare views of the behemoth machines that are hidden behind modest facades in New York City. His second book, Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals (MIT Press, 2009), was the result of a seven-year survey of America’s vast and largely shuttered state mental institutions. Payne’s photographs invoke the former grandeur of the site over different seasons, capturing hints of buried streets and infrastructure now reclaimed by nature, while also providing a unique glimpse into a city’s future without people. Payne’s recent work is a series in progress on the American textile industry, veering away from the documentation of the obsolete towards a celebration of craftsmanship and small-scale manufacturing that are persevering in the face of global competition and evolutions in industrial processes. Payne has been awarded grants from the Graham Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. His work has been featured in publications around the world and several times in special presentations by the New York Times Magazine.
CEO, American Woolen Company, Connecticut
Jacob Harrison Long leads American Woolen Company, Inc. While working in Milan from 2006 to 2012, Jacob developed extensive contacts in as well as a deep appreciation for the Italian textile and apparel industry with its focus on product quality and luxury versus the large-scale, commodity-oriented manufacturing that typifies the U.S. textile industry. He acquired the assets of American Woolen Company and Warren Mills in order to replicate the European approach to local textile manufacturing in the United States. American Woolen Company is a prominent name in the story of American textiles. As the leading producer of worsted and woolen cloth at the beginning of the 20th century, American Woolen Company owned and operated 58 textile mills throughout New England and employed over 40,000 people. The company was recognized for its superior product quality as well as its focus on innovative manufacturing processes, a distinction that helped it maintain a competitive edge in an extremely challenging industry. In 2014, the new American Woolen Company relaunched its business through the purchase of Warren Mills, a Stafford Springs, Connecticut based textile mill. Founded in 1853, Warren Mills was originally America’s most prominent manufacturer of fine camel hair and cashmere woolen fabrics. Today, Warren Mills is the manufacturing headquarters of American Woolen Company. It is the only domestic mill capable of producing the highest qualities of both worsted and woolen cloth. American Woolen Company is committed to bringing back the jobs and technical mastery required to make the finest natural fiber fabrics in the world, in America.
Vice President of Product Development, Bolt Threads, California
Jamie Bainbridge is Vice President of Product Development at Bolt Threads, where she engages the best minds in the textile industry to tackle every aspect of yarn and textile development. Previously, Jamie managed the product and fabric development teams for Nau Clothing, a brand focused on sustainable manufacturing practices; her past experience also includes research and development and innovation work at brands such as Nike and Patagonia. She serves as the chair of the advisory council for the Outdoor Industry Association Sustainability Working Group. Bolt Threads believes that answers to our most vexing problems can be found in nature. Every day the company is inspired by the amazing materials they work with, and driven by the desire to turn these materials into incredible products. Bolt Threads is a venture backed, idea driven company, led by world-class scientific and engineering talent, as well as experienced executives from the technology and apparel industries. Stay tuned - with the arrival of spider silk, they are planning to change your clothes in 2016!
Facilitating Manager of Fabric R&D, Eileen Fisher, New York
In roughly two decades at Eileen Fisher, Inka Apter has seen a number of our US mills close. That trend is starting to reverse itself and the brand is doing everything it can to support domestic fabric production. As such, Apter and her team devote a lot of R&D time to following up on new US manufacturing leads. By 2050, the global economy is projected to consume three planets' worth of resources annually. To change that trajectory, Eileen Fisher is committing to less. Leaving less fabric waste on the cutting room floor. Using less water—25% less in the case of its bluesign® certified dyehouse in China and emitting less carbon. The company is investing in alternative energy and cutting its reliance on air shipping. By 2020 Eileen Fisher's US operations won't just be carbon neutral, they'll be carbon positive. The label pledges to use the most sustainable fibers it can lay its hands on. All its cotton and linen will be organic by 2020 and its core merinos will get an ethical makeover: Eileen Fisher will use wool from sheep that are humanely raised—on land that is sustainably managed. The brand is also determined to wean itself off rayon—Tencel® has much better chemistry. It's taking a new look at polyester and if it's recycled, they're in! And the company is making progress: By 2020, roughly 30% of Eileen Fisher's product will be bluesign® certified and all the linen it uses will be organic. No synthetic pesticides, no synthetic herbicides. This world leader in sustainability is committed to using the best ingredients with the least possible impact—from the farm to the factory to the customer's closet. After almost 20 years at the company, sourcing and developing fabrics with mills across the globe, Inka's passion for the fibers, textiles and know-how of the textile industry has grown into quest for ever more beautiful and sustainable product, leading her into new ventures with like-minded producers and innovative frontiers for development.
Director of Design Segment, Mohawk Group
Ever since Mohawk rolled out its first carpets in 1878, the company has built quality into every flooring product it makes. Mohawk continues that tradition today with revolutionary product innovation, award-winning design, and a talented team. Dedicated to running our business in the best way it can, and to making a positive impact in communities, Mohawk's mission is to create innovative products that make life better. Creative Director Royce Epstein will discuss this creative process and how Mohawk is proud to assemble 100% of its carpet products in the United States—and proud to lead the industry as a trusted brand in flooring. Mohawk takes this leadership role seriously: it invests heavily in environmentally responsible practices, from developing renewably sourced products to keeping its facilities and delivery systems streamlined and efficient.